Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 25

25 May

Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 25

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

4:30 a.m.: Lithuania’s defense ministry said Wednesday that it will transfer 20 M113 armored personnel carriers, military trucks and de-mining vehicles to Ukraine.  

 

 

“The coordinated help from us and the allies is the deciding factor for the Ukrainian victory,” Reuters reported, citing defense minister Arvydas Anusauskas’ statement.

The vehicles are worth a total of 15.5 million euros, said the ministry. Previously, Lithuania has provided military support to Ukraine worth 100 million euros, the report added. 

 

4:00 a.m.: The United States said it will not extend a waiver, set to expire Wednesday, that allowed Russia to pay back its debts to international investors.  

The Treasury Department had let Russia use U.S. banks to make the payments, saying that was a temporary measure meant to provide an “orderly transition” and allow for the investors to sell their stakes.  

Closing that pathway raises the prospect that Russia may default on its debt. 

3:40 a.m.: Speaking by video link to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskyy used part of his address Wednesday to express his condolences to the family members of those killed Tuesday in a mass shooting at a U.S. elementary school.

“As far as I know, 21 people were killed, including 19 children. This is terrible, to have victims of shooters in peaceful time,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also expressed his condolences saying “as a nation that goes through the pain of losing innocent young lives, Ukraine shares the pain of our U.S. friends. We stand in solidarity with you at this difficult time.”

 

3:25 a.m.: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Wednesday that his country is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing the Interfax news agency.

The news agency quoted Rudenko saying Russia plans to discuss possibilities of prisoner exchange with Ukraine after surrendered prisoners are put on trial for war crimes, a demand made by Russia and separatist officials, according to Reuters.

2:50 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said on Wednesday that he was only willing to talk directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin and not via intermediators, Reuters reported.

He added that if the Russian President “understands reality” there was the possibility of finding a diplomatic way out of the conflict. Speaking to an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Zelenskyy said that his country will fight until it recovers all its territory.

Zelenskyy added that a first step toward talks with Russia would be for Russian forces to withdraw back to the lines that were in place before Russia launched its invasion in late February. There has been no sign of movement toward a negotiated end to the conflict in recent weeks with both sides accusing the other of not being willing to engage in talks.

Questions have swirled about whether a negotiated solution with Putin is possible. VOA’s Dora Mekouar has the story.

2:40 a.m.: Delegations from Sweden and Finland were in Ankara on Wednesday for talks with Turkish officials about the two nations’ applications to join NATO, which have been met with opposition from Turkey.

Turkey accused Sweden and Finland of harboring people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey says orchestrated a 2016 coup attempt.

NATO bids need approval from all of the alliance’s current members. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he is confident any objections will be overcome and both Sweden and Finland will be welcomed into the alliance.

The Associated Press has an update on scheduled talks with Turkish officials as delegations from the two countries are set to discuss obstacles to joining the NATO alliance.

 

1:50 a.m.: As Russian forces bombarded eastern Ukraine, including Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region, Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak pushed foreign governments to take action to pressure Russia to end its fighting in Ukraine.

“The duration of this war depends on the speed of imposing energy sanctions and weapons supply,” Podolyak said in a Twitter post Wednesday.

Podolyak’s post followed Zelenskyy’s message late Tuesday in which he said sending Ukraine rocket-propelled grenades, tanks, anti-ship missiles and other weapons is “the best investment” to prevent future Russian aggression.

 

1:15 a.m.: The British defense ministry said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is significantly impacting the global grain supply due to lack of “merchant shipping activity in or out of Odesa since the start of the war” in its daily intelligence report published Wednesday.

“Russia’s subsequent naval blockade of key Black Sea ports has deterred the commercial shipping industry from operating in the area,” the report said, adding “overland export mechanisms are highly unlikely to substitute for the shortfall in shipping capacity caused by the Russian blockade.”

 

12:15 a.m.: As the war entered its fourth month on Wednesday, Russian forces were relentlessly bombarding the industrial city of Severodonetsk while attempting its encirclement, a key goal of recent fighting in the Donbas region, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Russian troops are advancing in eastern Ukraine, pounding key cities and aiming “to destroy everything there,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday, as Moscow signaled it was digging in for a long war against its neighbor, the AFP said.

12:01 a.m.: Russian-born tennis star Daria Saville, who plays for Australia, says she cannot go back to Russia because she spoke publicly against its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

“I can’t really go back to Russia,” she said to the media at the French Open.

Saville wore yellow and blue, the colors of Ukraine, at the Paris Open in March and urged Vladimir Putin to stop the war and the Russian army to return home in a post on social media.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

SJ

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